Peanut allergies are on the rise and are the most common cause of severe and fatal food reactions. An experimental patch that delivers a high dose of peanut protein has shown promise in reducing allergic reactions in children and adults, new research has found.
The Viaskin Peanut Patch, which looks like a round Band-Aid, contains a small amount of peanut protein that goes into the skin and is absorbed by specialized immune cells in the superficial layer.
The study had 221 children and adults allergic to peanuts enrolled. These participants were randomly assigned to three groups, each of which wore a peanut skin patch in different doses. There was a fourth group that was given a placebo.
The trial, known as phase two, was designed to test which does best and how well it would work over a year.
As a result, the highest dose tested, 250 micrograms, was comparatively most effective and also appeared to help half the patients who wore it. The placebo patch helped one-quarter of wearers.
Patients were considered responders if they took without incident either 1000 milligram or more of peanut protein. The researchers, however, claimed that that sample size of each treatment group was relatively small.
A further trial, known as phase three and which aims to flesh out more widely how the patch works, has been initiated in children aged four to 11 using the 250-microgram patch, according to the report.
In January, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) urged parents to feed babies peanut-containing foods beginning at the age of four months to five years.
This practice reduces by 81 percent the risk of peanut allergy among infants deemed at high risk because they already had severe eczema, egg allergy or both, the agency said.
Small but “mighty,” the patch is proving to help some sufferers of the life-threatening allergy, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).